Self Care for Retail Workers

Working retail has probably been one of the most physically and emotionally challenging and draining things I’ve ever done, even if I have really enjoyed most of my retail working experiences. Even when you’re working in a super healthy environment, it can be really easy to get run down and burnt out. Here are some self care ideas that have worked for me, and that you are welcome to try!

  1. Invest in your feet. Love your feet. Take care of your feet. You are on your feet all day and if your feet aren’t properly supported and taken care of, you’re going to end up with all sorts of other aches and pains too.

    I used to just wear cheap black flats to all of my retail sort of jobs, and found that my feet hurt too much and I was wearing out my shoes and having to replace them after only 3-5 months. I thought I was saving money by buying cheaper shoes, but it ended up hurting me and my wallet in the long run. With my most recent retail position I invested in a good pair of all black athletic shoes with good support, and I have not regretted it. Because my shoes were so comfy and fit the dress code perfectly, my manager and a few other coworkers went out and bought the exact same shoes! I also bought mine in half a size larger than what I normally wear, but can still comfortably wear, as my feet swell so much during the day. For me, this helped reduce the amount of blistering I got.

    Pedicures are super expensive, but it can be nice to give yourself an at home foot scrub and soak when you’re able to. You can get decent foot products for relatively cheap that will last a long time. I’m a huge fan of Gehwol products personally. I use their foot anti-perspirant in the morning before putting on my work socks, and I leave the Gehwol foot and shoe deodorant in our back stock room for myself and my coworkers to use.

  2. Detox from customer comments and general work chaos at the end of your day.  Anyone who has worked retail knows that customers can often be really rude and condescending, particularly during the holidays and/or if they don’t get their way. It can be really easy to internalize negative comments made by customers, or even management or your coworkers, but if you let that build up it’s going to wear you out so quickly. I find that their negative comments hit me the hardest, because I can’t simply retort “You can’t treat me like a dumbass! I’m more educated than you will ever be! You have no idea what you’re even talking about!” to a customer unless you really truly want to get fired on the spot, and not being able to respond just fuels my inner rage, resentment, and sometimes even depressive feelings if I’m not self-aware.  I like to take a moment at the end of each shift to just take a few deep breaths and let all those anxious feelings disperse. If I’m still a bit riled up and I have the time, I’ll go home and take 30 min to an hour to just lay in bed and zone out with a book or Youtube and reset for the rest of my day.
  3. Stay hydrated and always have snacks! I always underestimate how much staying hydrated and fuelled up helps me get through my day until I skip breakfast or forsake my water bottle for a few hours. I keep a water bottle at work and granola bars stashed in the staff room and my car so that I never have to worry about forgetting them.

Hope all my fellow retail workers are doing well this holiday season, take care!!